Rebels walk in Ratyan, north of Aleppo, after what they said was an attempted regime advance into the village. REUTERS/Hosam Katan
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Syrian rebels fought back Wednesday against a government offensive near Aleppo that appeared to pour cold water on Staffan de Mistura's announcement of a government readiness to halt hostilities in the northern city.The surprise offensive began early Tuesday, and hours before U.N. envoy de Mistura informed the Security Council that President Bashar Assad was willing to suspend the bombing of Aleppo for six weeks. Anti-regime activists said rebels had reclaimed control of a village, Ratyan, seized by government forces and paramilitary allies in the campaign, and claimed that they had taken two other nearby villages, while pro-government sources denied this. Anti-regime activists posted video footage purporting to show a building surrounded by rebel fighters, and the 19 soldiers who were later taken prisoner.Activists and rebel groups in the city also accused the government side of committing a massacre of approximately 30 civilians in Ratyan shortly after the offensive began Tuesday.
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